However in terms of the entire journey, I feel as though I'm 95% there. I enrolled in school in October 2011, finished in November 2012, and ten pounds down and many thousands of dollars later, finally received confirmation from the State and dates for my tests earlier this very month (February 2013). This has also been quite a journey of some proportion for all whom I call my own. My hunky husband and my baby boys were thrown into the deep end of the new pool with little transition time and reacted well for the most part. No one sunk. There was some fierce paddling to stay afloat, but all looked calm on the surface. My hunky husband dove right in and took charge of laundry, weekend chauffeuring and soccer mom duties, my independent teen
My baby however, was heart-broken. He was heart-broken in the kind of raw, real, honest way that makes a Mom cry all the way to school sometimes. All of my (5th grade 10 year old) baby's life, I have been home for him and with him and he was not ready to dive in to these vicissitudes. Our new dynamic. Our shifted paradigm. I did my best to explain our family scaffolding was still there, our priorities had not changed, and he was still safe, sound, and loved to pieces - that I was still and would ever be entirely smitten with him, his brother, and his Dad and ruined for anyone else.
What he heard was - just the way it probably sounded as you read it - a bunch of psychobabble. All he knew was that his Mom was not going to be where she was supposed to be. That ten years of having that ground to stand on was being pulled right out from under his feet.
I switched to waterproof make-up. It was a necessity if I was to arrive at school without having cried all my makeup right off my face.
It got better. Slowly. There were bumps along the way. We became very thankful for our crockpot and for Publix sandwiches, for example. And did you know that my way of folding and stacking towels is not the only right way to fold and stack towels? Unbelievable. Inconceivable. It bothered me for a little while. Then it bothered me less. Then I was thankful there were clean towels.
Baby boy adjusted. By my last week of school however, he was rejoicing that Mom would once again be in the place he wanted her. At home. He started singing these lines of a song to me: "I belong to you, you belong to me, in our sweet home". He has the tender, sweet voice of a ten year old boy and each time he sang it my heart melted a little more. I wasn't familiar with the lyrics but it didn't matter. I loved hearing him sing them to me. Then a day or two later, listening to the radio in the car I heard those words in a song they were playing! I looked it up when I got home, watched the video, and read the lyrics. I haven't yet mentioned to him the lyrics aren't exactly as he sings them, and I think I might just not. I like his version better anyway.
I love the video, by the way. It reminds me of an Irish band - sort of a stomp-and-clap, acoustic, front porch vibe.
Hunky husband was happy for me to be home and whether he could admit it or not, so was Mr. TeenMan. I don't think any of the three of them have yet looked ahead far enough to recognize that when I put this education to use I'll potentially be away from home even more than before. It will occur to each of them. I think I'll see it when it does. I imagine it will be a deer-in-the-headlights sort of expression that'll be the tell. I'll keep you apprised.
So in the whole of it, whether I'm halfway done, 95% done, or just beginning, it feels good. It feels bright and new and shiny - a road untravelled, a story untold, and a journey yet to unfold.
I owe a big thank you to my family members and friends who've supported me along the way. Being in class alongside eighteen to twenty six year olds is daunting to say the least, as is accepting the difference in learning new material at the age of 54 instead of 14 or 18 or 20. So I was and continue to be thankful for the group of people who surround me. Sometimes that surround acts as padding - like a circle of wagons or like bubble wrap, sometimes it feels like a warm, soft crocheted shawl made of prayer and love and light, and sometimes it feels like the walls of one of those rubber rooms that keeps crazy folks from hurting themselves or anything else. But it's always there in some form.